Founders Bios

Alpha Delta Kappa was founded in 1947 by Agnes Shipman Robertson, Marie Neal, Marion Southall and Hattie Poppino, visionary women who saw a need to recognize and support the professional efforts of outstanding women educators. Since 1947, over 125,000 women educators around the world have discovered the many opportunities provided by membership in Alpha Delta Kappa — opportunities for recognition of commitment to educational excellence, for personal and professional growth and for collectively channeling their energies toward the good of schools, communities, the teaching profession and the world.

Alpha Delta Kappa was incorporated in the state of Missouri in 1947, but a realization that such an organization was needed was born a quarter of a century earlier. Thomas H. Neal, Sr. and his wife, Alpha Delta Kappa Co-Founder Marie Neal, traveled to numerous teacher meetings, at which he represented a book company. The late Marie Neal recalled that "teachers came in, listened to speeches and went their way. We talked about how they needed something to draw them together and to enhance their professional attitudes and attributes."

Agnes Shipman Robertson had also noticed the lack of a catalyst to promote closer professional ties among women educators. Together with Marie Neal, their discussion led to Agnes Shipman Robertson becoming the organizational founder and Marie Neal became the executive secretary-treasurer of Alpha Delta Kappa. Agnes Shipman Robertson administered expansion and membership duties, while Marie Neal conducted the office work from her home in Kansas City with the assistance of Co-Founder Marion Southall. Marion Southall and Hattie Poppino were members of the first executive board. The National Executive Board was established soon after Alpha Delta Kappa’s chartering. In 1954, a new governing body of Alpha Delta Kappa was organized.

A slate of "National Officers" appeared in the KAPPAN directory, along with the "Permanent Executive Board." Marion Southall became Vice President of Alpha Delta Kappa. Agnes Shipman Robertson was President of the National Executive Board and National President until 1955 when the first National Convention was held, and Vera Neel McCauley became the first elected National President. Marion Southall and Hattie Poppino became inactive in 1956. In 1957 the slate of "National Officers" became known as "Grand Officers," and the Grand Chapter was born. In 1999, the International Executive Board voted to change the title "Grand" to "International." Grand Officers became known as International Officers and the Grand Chapter is now known as the International Chapter.


Agnes Shipman Robertson

Hattie Poppino

Marie Neal

Marion Southall

Top Row: Agnes Shipman Robertson and Marie Neal
Bottom Row: Marion Southall and Hattie Poppino